There's no telling how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last. It may last a year, or even longer.
For investors, it's important to hold shares of businesses that are versatile and can adapt amid this uncertainty. Companies that can let their employees work from home are extremely valuable, and investors should consider adding those types of stocks to their portfolios to help add stability. Below are three work from home stocks that are good buys right now.
A virtual health pioneer
One of the most attractive features of investing in Teladoc (NYSE:TDOC) is that the company's business doesn't depend on in-person traffic. Patients are able to connect to medical professionals via the phone, by video, or through an app. Since Teladoc's business model doesn't require in-person interactions with its customers, it's one that should not only be able to adapt to situations where people are stuck at home, but thrive in them as demand for its services will likely be on the rise. Teladoc also makes things easy for physicians, who can work from home and see patients virtually.
Investors saw strong demand when Teladoc released its first-quarter results on April 29. Revenue in Q1 of $180.8 million was a year-over-year increase of 41%. That's an improvement from the full year of 2019 where Teladoc's sales were up a more modest 32% from 2018. In the fourth quarter, the New York-based company's top line rose by 27% and in the third quarter, revenue increased by 24%. Teladoc averaged more than 20,000 virtual medical visits every day by the end of March, which was up over 100% from the first week of the month.
Teladoc's an ideal stock for investors who are looking for an investment that can do well during a pandemic and beyond. With patients trying out telehealth services during lockdowns, they'll be more comfortable with telehealth as a convenient option once normalcy returns. The one challenge for Teladoc is that it remains unprofitable; in Q1, Teladoc reported a net loss of $29.6 million, which is slightly better than the $30.2 million loss it recorded during the same period a year ago.
But the company's business is flexible in that it can hire remote workers, and taking advantage of remote employees can keep costs down while demand for its services remains strong.
Shares of Teladoc have doubled year to date while the S&P 500 is down 1% during that period. With a bright future and the stock falling in recent weeks, now could be a great time to buy Teladoc on the dip.
The social media titan
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is another example of a business that is adaptable and that can weather the COVID-19 storm. With people working at home and locked down during a pandemic, Twitter is one way to stay connected with people locally and around the world.
Last month, Twitter made headlines when it announced that for employees who are in roles where they'd be able to work from home consistently, they have the option to work from home -- forever. Twitter also said that it wouldn't be conducting any in-person events for the remainder of 2020. The social media company is in a strong position where its focus on decentralization has become an asset during the pandemic.
The company released its first-quarter results of 2020 on April 30, where it saw modest year-over-year revenue growth of 3%. That's a bit of a dropoff from the 13.7% sales growth that Twitter enjoyed in 2019.
However, advertisers have been scaling back on purchases amid the pandemic, and that's making it more difficult for social media companies to generate stronger numbers. The softer results led to Twitter recording a fairly mild loss of $8 million in Q1. That's the only time during the past 10 reporting periods that Twitter's been in the red. Typically, its profit margins are over 10%. While the disappointing results are a setback, they're not a huge concern at this point given the company's track record.
Over the long term, Twitter's a stock that holds a lot of promise given its flexibility to allow workers to stay home, as that can lead to less overhead and even stronger bottom lines in the future. And it's a better buy than rival Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) which is trading near its 52-week high. Facebook's price-to-book (P/B) multiple of six is higher than Twitter's P/B ratio of three. Investors are also paying less than eight times sales for Twitter stock compared to the nearly nine times revenue the Facebook's currently valued at.
Year to date, shares of Twitter are up 14% while the S&P 500 is still down 1%.
Half of the credit card duopoly
Visa (NYSE:V) isn't a tech company, but its business doesn't rely on people visiting physical stores to do business. And working from home is an option for many of its employees. In May, the credit card company announced that the majority of its workers can continue working from home for the remainder of 2020.
It's a move that, like Twitter's, will not only help bring overhead down but reinforce the flexibility that the company has. Whether customers are using their Visa cards in-store or over the internet, those are still transactions that happen over the company's network and that it can generate sales from. The credit card company's business is versatile enough that it can adapt to the changing ways consumers decide to make purchases.
Visa released its second-quarter results on April 20. Revenue in Q2 grew by 6.6% from the prior-year period. Through the first two periods of the year, Visa reported sales of $11.9 million -- an 8.3% improvement over the same period in 2019. Profits didn't take a hit, either, as the San Francisco-based company saw its bottom line increase by 3.6% in Q2.
Despite the pandemic, Visa's business continues to look strong, and it can be another stock that you can add to your portfolio to help diversify your holdings during these volatile times. Visa's the only stock on this list that pays a dividend, which today yields about 0.6%. That's well below the S&P 500 average of 2%, but it can still help boost your overall returns, nonetheless.
Visa and Mastercard (NYSE:MA) are a duopoly and investors can invest in either stock to take advantage of the current economic conditions and the growing demand for credit. However, Visa is the cheaper buy overall as it trades at a P/B of 18 compared to Mastercard which is at a multiple of 58. It also trades at 35 times earnings while Mastercard's at a P/E multiple of 40. Year to date, shares of Visa are up 3%.
Which stock should you buy today?
If you can't buy all three stocks to diversify your portfolio and can only invest in one, then Teladoc may be your best bet. The healthcare stock's likely to remain in demand regardless of how long the pandemic continues and will benefit from user adoption tailwinds when COVID-19 is no longer top of mind.
Visa, meanwhile, could see some challenges ahead as the economy slows down. And the Twitter battle that's ongoing with President Trump creates a wildcard. The President issued an executive order to weaken some of the legal protections social media companies enjoy in response to Twitter fact-checking some of his tweets. It's too early to tell how much of an impact the order will have on the company, but it may be a reason for risk-averse investors to buy a politically safer stock like Teladoc.
Either way, all three stocks are good long-term buys. But if you're looking to minimize your risk, investing in Teladoc may be the best way to accomplish that while adding a great growth stock to your portfolio.